The neverending hallow.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 09/30/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Hallow's End (John Keeyes, 2003)
That Hallow's End isn't the worst movie I saw this weekend is a traumatic experience. The worst part of it is that, unlike the completely useless Centipede!, there was so much potential here to have made not only a really good horror film, but one with subtexts, strong characters, and all the other things that would have made it an underground Silence of the Lambs. But... well, no. Not at all.
I can't actually reveal most of the plot without spoilers. The movie revolves around a service fraternity who put on an annual haunted house to raise money for charity. All well and good, except that things start to go very, very wrong one year when tensions are already running high. The reason for each of those things constitutes its own major plot spoiler; the former is actually something of an unusual twist that I can't say anything at all about. The latter involves a love... well, quintangle, I guess.
Hallow's End is Chris Burdick's first script, and it reads like a first script-- but like a first script which, had it had a really solid editor and a couple of rewrites, would have taken the world by storm the way the first feature scripts of Alan Ball (American Beauty) or Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) did. Burdick obviously has a great feel for college life, especially the ugly "everybody sleeps with everybody and everybody's jealous about it" soap-opera stuff that no one wants to write about because, well, it's soap-opera stuff. Burdick comes so very close to nailing it here. The relationships in the movie, in fact, are the strongest part of the script. That's not saying a great deal, because a lot of things seem to have been shoved to the back in order to make room for the relationships; in particular, a number of other characters don't get anywhere near the development they deserve (including, ironically, one of the five characters involved here). Plot, also, recedes into the background in some very important places. That's great when it's intended; for example, in figuring out who's behind the whole mess. However, when plot threads disappear, never to be found again (whatever did happen to that guy in the parking lot? And what about that cat on the back fence-- why was it there?), one has to think that a few more rewrites would have been a really good idea.
It's completely chauvinist to say that the movie was saved by the sex scenes. And, to be fair, the movie isn't saved by the sex scenes. One of them had the potential, if we cared at all about the characters, to have been a sex scene for the ages. Unfortunately, however, we once again turn to Burdick's script for why it's not; he's so focused on the dynamics of the relationships themselves that he forgot to people them with real characters. The lovers (not just in this scene, but in the whole film) are flat, wooden creations who might as well be blow-up dolls.
I hope someone eventually retools the script and remakes this movie, because it really could be one for the ages. Unfortunately, however, this particular iteration is a horrible disaster. You won't be able to stop watching it, because it's really that bad. (zero)"